[P2P-F] Fwd: [P2P-URBANISM] Chomsky on architecture

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Wed Nov 6 06:29:49 CET 2013

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Franz Nahrada <f.nahrada at reflex.at>
Date: Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 12:19 AM
Subject: [P2P-URBANISM] Chomsky on architecture
To: p2p-urbanism-world-atlas at googlegroups.com

  a very noteworthy essay was published recently:


see also


*Emeritus Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT,
Avram Noam Chomsky is amongst the world’s most cited living scholars.
Lauded as the ‘father’ of modern linguistics and instigator of the
‘cognitive revolution’ he was voted the “world’s top public intellectual”
in 2005. He is, however, best known, and at his most controversial, in the
fields of political criticism and activism. Perhaps the most prolific
author alive today he has engaged with issues ranging from the Vietnam War,
US policy in South and Central America, what he calls the
‘US-Palestinian-Israeli problem’, the Spanish Civil War and the Indonesian
invasion of East Timor, to name but a few.The scope of his thinking is
nothing short of immense.*

*Despite this range of subjects, however, one area that Chomsky has not
discussed is the built environment. Here, for the first time he is asked to
consider the contemporary infrastructure of the United States in the
context of his writings, criticism, and thought. In doing so, he discusses
the military infrastructure crossing large swathes of the southern United
States in the form of the US-Mexican border. He also discusses urban sprawl
as a product of what he calls “social engineering” — a project conceived
and orchestrated by a sophisticated web of affiliations across the
government and the private sector. Caught up in this, he also pinpoints the
subprime crisis and the current economic recession as the result of a
matrix of forces within which architecture inevitably played a role. In
short, he offers his particular perspective on what lies behind some of
America’s most conspicuous architectural and infrastructural projects.*


some quotes:

"The origins of suburbia reveal an attempt to take over a fairly efficient
mass-transportation system in parts of California — the electric railways
in Los Angeles and the like — and destroy them so as to shift energy use to
fossil fuels and increase consumer demand for rubber, automobiles and
trucks and so on. It was a literal conspiracy. It went to court. The courts
fined the corporations $5000, or something like that, probably equivalent
to the cost of their victory dinner...."

"It is simply not true that suburbia is a product of the market, or market
forces, or people’s ‘uninfluenced’ desires. It is the result of a
deliberate social engineering program — led from the center. It is totally
political in that sense. ... It didn’t emerge spontaneously — a magical
product of the market. It was engineered for a specific range of interests."


maybe a good move towards understanding that the left was too busy atacking
unequal distribution of wealth to understand the whole form that our
material environment took is essentially and basically flawed.


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